Environment

Population
2:32 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Salem Still Tops Eugene as Oregon's "Second City"

According to census estimates released last week for cities of 50 thousand or more,  Salem has once again nosed out Eugene as the state’s second largest city.  As of July 2013,  Eugene’ s population was about 159 thousand, while Salem topped  160, 000.

Portland remains Oregon’s largest city by a factor of four.  Bend was the clear state leader in percent of population growth last year at two-point-nine.  Eugene, Springfield, Salem and Corvallis all saw small population gains, with none registering as much as one percent.

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Pests
8:34 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Stopping The Stink Bug Invasion

Credit Flickr Creative Commons: Armed Forces Pest Management Board

Northwest researchers are teaming up to stop an invasion of stink bugs moving across the region. The bugs, which can smell like dirty gym socks, ruin tree fruit and grape vines. Those crops are vital to Northwest agriculture.

You have to go through three airlocked doors to get to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s stink bug research lab.

The quarantined, closet-sized room has it’s own ventilation system. The stink bug colony of about 400 bugs is kept inside an even smaller room within the lab.

Chemist Lee Ream opens the door.

Ream: “So, here’s our colony.”

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May 2014 Primary
8:28 am
Tue May 13, 2014

GMO Battle Divides Jackson County Farmers

Jim and Marilyn Frink farm 500 acres in the Sams Valley area in Jackson County.
Credit Liam Moriarty / JPR

The people with perhaps the most direct economic stake in the fate of Jackson County’s proposed ban on growing genetically modified crops are the county’s farmers. Jefferson Public Radio’s Liam Moriarty visited Rogue Valley farmers who stand on opposite sides of Measure 15-119 to find out how they see it.

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Environment
7:47 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Study: Georgia Pacific Effluent Off Nye Beach Not Showing Up In Marine Life

Credit City of Newport

For years, residents of Newport have raised concerns about effluent from a Georgia Pacific Mill in Toledo.  Since 1957, the company has pumped it’s wastewater through a pipe that discharges into the ocean, about .75 miles off Nye Beach.  A new study from Oregon State University is adding to a growing body of evidence showing the effluent is not causing significant impact on the surrounding environment.  

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wildlife
6:25 am
Mon May 12, 2014

Saving The Greater Sage Grouse

Male Sage Grouse
Credit USFWS Pacific Southwest Region

The West’s greater sage grouse are in trouble. The birds make their homes in desert sagebrush country. But their habitat is shrinking – because of people, wildfires, and agriculture. With fewer wide-open places to live, sage grouse numbers are dwindling. For EarthFix, Courtney Flatt takes a look at one program that’s relocated sage grouse from Oregon to Washington.

It’s early in the morning, hours before sunrise.

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Water Contamination
9:25 am
Sun May 11, 2014

Eugene Springfield Wastewater Facility Fined For Sewage Spill

An areal view of Metropolitan Wastewater Management Treatment Plant
Credit http://www.mwmcpartners.org

The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has fined a Eugene Springfield sewage treatment company for a spill that occurred during a harsh February storm.

Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission was fined $7,800 dollars for releasing approximately 54,000 gallons of sludge into a drainage ditch connected to Flat Creek. The reason for the overflow was a pump failure caused by a power outage. Esther Westbrook is a Compliance and Enforcement Officer for the Oregon DEQ.

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Wetlands
7:21 am
Tue May 6, 2014

The Wetland That Saved Highway 101 From Flooding

Allowing the Necanicum River to flood this pasture kept Highway 101 dry this winter.
Credit Cassandra Profita / Earthfix

Video: “Here we go, through the water!”

You can see the extent of the Highway 101 flooding in YouTube videos made by people driving through it. In this one, the car radio plays a local commercial while a woman in the front passenger seat films the view from the dashboard. It’s all water.

Video: “Oh, my God. Um. This is a lot worse than I thought it was going to be.”

At one point, she turns the camera to the right. The water level is almost as high as the passenger window.

Video: “We are in a lake.”

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Bees
1:10 pm
Wed April 30, 2014

Beekeeper Removes Swarm From Behind KLCC

Honeybees swarm the trellised gate behind the Starlight Lounge next door to KLCC.
Credit Rachael McDonald

Honeybees swarmed Wednesday morning behind the KLCC studios in downtown Eugene. They may have come from wild hives on the roof of the nearby Rogue Brewery. When bees swarm, there's a list of people who can come and take them away.

 
Brent Hefley is on the Lane County Bee Keepers Association Swarm list. He got a call from the Rogue and came out to the parking lot behind KLCC. He brought a wooden box.

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Oregon Mining
6:54 am
Tue April 29, 2014

Oregon's 1872 Mining Law Could Get An Update

Highly acidic mine runoff flows from a culvert near the abandoned Formosa mine near Riddle, Oregon.
Credit Liam Moriarty, Jefferson Public Radio

The federal legislation that regulates mining for copper, zinc, gold and many other minerals was originally signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant. In ways, the law reflects reflect a 19th century view of natural resources: limitless and there for the taking. Now, a legacy of pollution at tens of thousands of abandoned mines across the West is prompting an Oregon Congressman to head a new effort to revise the General Mining Act of 1872.

Chris Cora stands on what used to be a mountaintop in the Umpqua Basin of southern Oregon. Now, it’s essentially a landfill …

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Rivers
6:43 am
Fri April 25, 2014

Natural Solutions to Manmade Problems on Oregon Rivers

McKenzie River
Credit wikepedia

For decades, the government has relied on regulations to protect water quality. But what if cities tried something other than simply telling people what they can -- and cannot -- do?

What if cities actually rewarded people for managing their land in ways that keep rivers cool and clean?

Two Oregon cities are trying this approach.

Marilyn Cross lives alongside the McKenzie River. It’s home to salmon and steelhead and the source of drinking water for the downstream city of Eugene.

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